Saying yes to VBS: A neighborhood strategy

April 29, 2020

One way churches may choose to offer Vacation Bible School (VBS) this summer is as a backyard or neighborhood experience.

Given the current environment with COVID-19, the advantages to this approach are many: reduced number of children in attendance at one location, outside event, less materials needed for decorating and crafts, reduced budget and the chance to spend time with your neighbors. There is an added benefit of reaching several neighborhoods if your church has a strategy to provide multiple locations in your community.

Consideration for the locations of a network of neighborhood VBS sites is crucial. Are there children in the surrounding area that can come to a neighborhood VBS? Can this be a walk-in event, or will parents need to drive to the location? If so, will parking be a problem?

If your church is considering offering sites throughout your area or county, are there other churches that may be interested in partnering with your church to provide leadership or resources in lieu of not offering VBS to their children?

If you choose to use this neighborhood VBS strategy, there are unique safety and security concerns you need to address and plan for:

  • Be sure to have at least two adults over the age of 18 who are not related by marriage to act as leaders of your VBS. Married couples can serve together, but there should be a third unrelated adult present.
  • Screen any volunteers who are not already approved church workers by conducting a background check and following up with reference checks.
  • Create nametags for volunteers so parents know who is authorized to have access to their children.
  • Check the local sex offender registry near sites where you may choose to hold your VBS. Make volunteers aware of any you identify.
  • Have a plan for securely dropping off and picking up children. This method can be as simple as using matching carnival tickets or creating matching number cards on your computer.
  • Have a registration form with name and contact information for each child. Provide a place for the names of other adults who are authorized to pick up the child, along with a place for permission to photograph children if that is part of your plan. Consider adding a place for medical information that you may need to know.
  • Have an alternative plan in the event of inclement weather. If possible, host the VBS at a home with a garage, covered patio or tent.
  • Consider scheduling your VBS to last two hours or less to minimize the need for children to use the site’s bathroom.
  • Ask parents to make sure their children use the bathroom before coming to your VBS. If you need to take a child to a bathroom in your home, have a plan to do this securely.
  • Post signs with any snacks you may provide so parents are alerted to the possibility of any allergens.
  • Have hand sanitizer or water, soap and paper towels available for handwashing.
  • Provide spray bottles of cleaner for sanitizing surfaces before and after each use by the children.

We pray you have a wonderful summer of VBS. It may look different, but with thoughtful consideration, children throughout your neighborhood will have the opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus when you say yes to VBS!

EDITOR’S NOTE: A neighborhood approach to VBS is one of four possible strategies suggested by LifeWay. The others are an at-home approach, an alternative approach and a traditional approach. These approaches are summarized in a free e-book titled “4 VBS Strategies for This Summer” that is available for download by clicking here.


by Beth Whitman  / 
Vacation Bible School  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

The beauty in honoring our aging parents

“Honor your father and mother — which is the first commandment with a promise — so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2-3). Trying not to become frustrated at the sluggish traffic, I turned up the volume on my radio. There must...

NC Baptists provide dental care to remote island of Ocracoke

It started with a hunting trip. A young man went hunting in Ocracoke a few years ago, and while there he learned there was no dentist on the island. So he told his father, who volunteered as a driver for Baptists on Mission’s (BOM) dental bus. Last month, a team of volunteer...

MLK’s legacy fueled by hope in Christ

The black and white photo of Martin Luther King Jr. laying on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, with several people pointing toward the direction of the gunshot that killed him, has always been seared in my mind. My grandfather, James Hampton, first showed me the photo when I was...

Meet the Directors: John Butler

As a movement of churches on mission together, the work of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is organized into five groups, each headed by a director of that ministry area. The five groups that make up the convention’s structure aim to connect churches and...

Meet the Directors: Seth Brown

As a movement of churches on mission together, the work of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is organized into five groups, each headed by a director of that ministry area. The five groups that make up the convention’s structure aim to connect churches and...

Ser socios ha dado por resultado el plantar una iglesia hispana al oeste de Carolina del Norte

Hace dos años que una iglesia al oeste de Carolina del Norte y un creciente estudio bíblico en un hogar comenzaron una asociación de la cual surgió Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church en Español. «Me entusiasma saber que estaré haciendo la voluntad de nuestro Señor», dijo Carlos Pérez, el...

Partnership leads to Hispanic church plant in western NC

Two years ago, a western North Carolina church and a growing home Bible study began a partnership that led to the recent launch of a Hispanic church plant, Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church en Español. “I am excited to know that I can do the will of our Lord,” Carlos Perez, the new...

Meet the Directors: Kathryn Carson

As a movement of churches on mission together, the work of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is organized into five groups, each headed by a director of that ministry area. The five groups that make up the convention’s structure aim to connect churches and...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay connected by signing up for the N.C. Baptist monthly newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!